An author in the late 1700s, Franz Kafka, who would base stories off his own internal conflict with not only himself but also his father wrote a novella, The Metamorphosis. In this novella, he tells of a traveling salesman who awakes one morning as a giant cockroach, which his family disowns, all except his sister. Many events occur that shadow how Kafka’s feels about his father. For example, in the climax of the story, Gregor’s father throws apples at Gregor; this results in multiple injuries, being both physical and mental. Many critics claim this connects the story to how Kafka’s real-life father would exert verbal abuse. Metamorphosis is somewhat autobiographical because the main character Gregor represents the anxieties that the author, Franz Kafka, lived primarily due to the struggles of the paternal-filial relationship.
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A lot of Kafka’s writings are based off the abuse he grew up with from his father. In a biography by Biography.com, the readers understand how Kafka’s father affected his writing, Kafka’s father had a profound impact on both Kafka’s life and writing. He was a tyrant of sorts, with a wicked temper and little appreciation for his son’s creative side. Biography.com also tells readers of how Kafka’s personal life was also inflicted, Much of Kafka’s personal struggles, in romance and other relationships, came, he believed, in part from his complicated relationship with his father. In the next quote readers see how Metamorphosis was constructed from Kafka’s emotions and struggles, In his literature, Kafka’s characters were often coming up against an overbearing power of some kind, one that could easily break the will of men and destroy their sense of self-worth (Biography.com).
In Metamorphosis the main character, Gregor Samsa, awakes as a giant insect. After waking, he goes through obstacles, one of which includes unlocking the door so his family can see him. Automatically his father is disgusted and revolted. Mr. Samsa, Gregor’s father, wants nothing to do with his son and is ashamed of Gregor. At the end of the story, Gregor still in his bug form dies. After Gregor’s death, the family moves, however, Mr. Samsa does not even mourn Gregor. In fact, on the train ride to the new city, the Samsa family is moving to, the father points out how beautiful his daughter is and how she would make a wonderful wife. This can show how Kafka feels about how dead he is to his father. It can also represent how much Kafka feels like a last pick, or not even a pick at all.
Franz Kafka also had a very negative view of himself in all aspects of life. In the first paragraph of Wikipedia’s Personality summary of Kafka, they tell of the way Kafka thought people would feel about him, Kafka feared that people would find him mentally and physically repulsive. However, those who met him found him to possess a quiet and cool demeanor, obvious intelligence, and a dry sense of humour [sic]; they also found him boyishly handsome, although of austere appearance. It is interesting to see how people who knew Kafka would view him. Readers and audiences who have read his works and had seen educational videos would have guessed everyone around Kafka hated him; this including him. Critics think Kafka had a constant anxiety of everyone hating him, because of the abuse and pressure his father had exerted onto him from an early age.
In an article by T.Z. Barry, titled Social Anxiety in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Barry shows examples and excerpts from the book showing examples of how Kafka puts his own social anxiety into his character, Gregor. The excerpt from the book starts as for the time being he must remain calm, he must show patience and the greatest consideration so that his family could bear the unpleasantness that he, in his present condition, was forced to impose on them. From this quote the author, T.Z. Barry explains how Gregor, who was created by Kafka’s similarities to himself, feels about his family and their views on him. Gregor has low self-esteem, feeling he is a burden on his family because of his transformation. I’ve often felt similarly ashamed about my social anxiety. That I was letting my family down by being so shy and failing to have more success in my life and career. I believed that my family wished I wasn’t so anxious and shy and was more outgoing and normal. One example from the novella that models anxiety is within the first few pages that tell of how Gregor tries to speak but cannot: every time he says something only a mere squeak comes out. This makes Gregor feel small metaphorically, but also incapable of being loved by his father.
In Franz Kafka’s life, his father mentally and verbally abused him, causing him to develop social anxiety and depression. In Metamorphosis Kafka bases the main character, Gregor Samsa, off his own social anxiety and lack of self-confidence. Multiple examples can be pointed out in the novella to showcase how Franz Kafka and the character he created, Gregor Samsa, are linked. After all, every character in Kafka’s books has some sort of obstacle to overcome. The recurring theme is always pointed in the direction of anxiety, and depression. Metamorphosis is a Kafka’s canvas, in which he paints a picture of himself working a job he loathes. From there he turns into a repulsive creature that he has always pictured himself as, then goes onto create an even worse relationship with not only his father but also his mother.
Metamorphosis is a Kafka's best-known work. (2019, Jul 09).
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